An echocardiogram (ek-oh-KAR-dee-oh-gram), or “echo,” is a test that checks how well your heart is working. It uses sound waves to produce a picture of your heart.
This test is done to help your doctor check:
No special preparation is necessary.
You will remove any clothing above the waist and put on a hospital gown.
Sticky patches (called electrodes) will be placed on your chest. These keep track of your heart’s rate, rhythm, and electrical activity. The electrodes will be connected to a machine that will record the electrical activity of your heart. This recording is called an EKG (electrocardiogram).
You will be asked to lie on your left side. A nurse or technician will put a gel on your chest. The gel may feel cold. A small plastic device, called a transducer (trans-DOO-sir), will be placed on your chest, over your heart. The transducer sends and receives highfrequency sound waves.
As the sound waves bounce off different parts of your heart, they are picked up by the transducer and sent to a monitor. The monitor shows a picture of your beating heart. You may hear a “whooshing” sound, timed with your heart beat. This is the sound of blood moving through your heart.
After the echo is completed, you may go back to your normal daily activities. Technologists and nurses are not allowed to discuss your test results. Your doctor will go over your test results with you. Call your doctor’s office in 2 to 3 working days to find out your results.